Tag Archives: Fenimore Art Museum

Former NYS Historical Assn President Responds To Criticisms


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New York State Historical AssociationI recently reported on a petition initiated by the New York Academy of History in support of local and state history.

Much of the details of the letter were against recent actions of the New York State Historical Association (NYSHA), an organization that has undergone some changes in 2017 as reported in New York History Blog by editor John Warren and columnist/advocate Bruce Dearstyne.

My post led to a response by Paul S. D’Ambrosio, President & CEO, Fenimore Art Museum & The Farmers’ Museum aka NYSHA. He sent me an email asking if I would publish it. I agreed to do so and he then sent a second draft which is published below. Continue reading

NYSHA Defunct: New York State Historical Association Is No More


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The Hancock House in TiconderogaAfter nearly 120 years, the New York State Historical Association (NYSHA) is no more.  On March 13,  2017, the State Board of Regents approved NYSHA’s request to amend its charter to change its name to Fenimore Art Museum, revise its corporate purposes, designate the Commissioner of Education as agent for corporation service; and update the organization’s IRS dissolution language (pdf link).

The move follows years of debate over the role of the organization as a statewide advocate for the New York State History Community, a troubled history of publishing the State’s history journal New York History, and questions about NYSHA’s support for the long-standing annual spring meeting of the State’s historians, the Conference on New York State History. Continue reading

Unique Winslow Homer Exhibit At Farmers Museum, Arkell Museum


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Winslow_Homer_-_MoonlightTomorrow, June 6th, the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown will present the opening of Winslow Homer: The Nature and Rhythm of Life, from the Arkell Museum at Canajoharie, featuring over 23 original works including oil paintings and delicate watercolors collected by Bartlett Arkell, the founder and first President of the Beech-Nut Packing Company.

This marks the first time these exceptional Homer paintings will be displayed as a complete collection. The exhibition contains two works now in other collections, including a painting owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The exhibition was organized by the Arkell Museum at Canajoharie and is on view at the Fenimore Art Museum from through August 24, 2014, and at the Arkell Museum at Canajoharie from September 2, 2014 to January 4, 2015. Continue reading

Exhibit Highlights Native American Basket Design


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29_NA_105The Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York, presents Plain and Fancy: Native American Splint Baskets, an exhibition of baskets spanning two centuries. The art of ash splint basketry is a beautiful synthesis of form and function. The exhibition opens Saturday, August 10, and runs through December 29, 2013.

The exhibition includes over 30 baskets from the 1800s to the present day. Ash splint basketry ranges in form and decoration from practical storage and market baskets to fanciful and exquisitely designed artworks. Basket makers incorporate numerous design elements, such as a variety of weaves: checker, wicker, twill, and hexagonal plaiting. Artists also use sweetgrass and curled splints to embellish their baskets. Other design elements include dyes, stains, and paint. Domes, triangles, dots, or leaves are hand-painted or stamped with a carved potato, turnip, cork, or piece of wood. Continue reading

Colonial New York Scholar to Address NYSHA Meeting


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nysha_logo_press-release3Dr. Timothy Shannon, Professor of History at Gettysburg College, will address members of the New York State Historical Association (NYSHA) at its 110th Annual Meeting. The meeting, held Thursday, July 18, at 4:00 pm at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York, is open to members of the association.

According to the Fenimore Art Museum’s webpage, NYSHA is “a private, non-governmental educational organization. It is closely affiliated with its sister organization, The Farmers’ Museum.” The website also publishes what it calls NYSHA’s “strategic plan”, as follows: Continue reading

Fenimore Lunch Lecture Series Spotlights New Exhibits


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Food for Thought, the popular lunch-and-lecture series at the Fenimore Art Museum, offers an in-depth understanding of the museum’s new exhibitions, including Tasha Tudor, G.C. Myers, and New York in the Civil War.

All Food for Thought programs are held on Wednesday from 12:30-2:30 pm at the Fenimore Art Museum. The museum offers two discounts: NYSHA members receive $5 off. Register for three or more Food for Thought programs at once, receive $2 off.
September 12: In Plain Sight: Hidden Gems of Native American Open Storage

Join Eva Fognell, Thaw Collection Curator, as she offers a behind-the-scenes look at the museum’s Study Center, which houses open storage of the Thaw Collection of American Indian Art. Appreciate the extraordinary range of art produced by North America’s first artists, including ritual objects, ceremonial clothing, pottery, and basketry.

September 19: Artist and Visionary: William Matthew Prior Revealed

Learn about America’s most prominent folk artist as Paul D’Ambrosio, President and CEO, explores the William Matthew Prior exhibition (on display through December 31).

October 10: On the Home Front: New York in the Civil War

Join John Hart, Assistant Curator of Collections, as he shares Civil War artifacts from the On the Home Front exhibition. Objects tell us so much about the past and the history of those who made and used them. Learn about New York State and its place in the American Civil War through lively discussion.

October 17: Tasha Tudor Around the Year

Come for a heart-warming discussion and tour of Tasha Tudor Around the Year, an exhibition from the Norman Rockwell Museum. This exhibition illuminates beloved author and illustrator Tasha Tudor and stirs the imagination through the artist’s iconic art and greeting cards. Co-curator Jeanette Chandler Knazek reflects on the changing seasons and special celebrations as depicted by Tudor.

October 24: Oral Histories of New York’s Farm Women

Professor William Walker of the Cooperstown Graduate Program plays excerpts from oralhistory interviews with women who have lived and worked on farms in central New York State. Using recordings available on the website CGP Community Stories, Dr. Walker leads a discussion of the varied experiences of women in the agricultural heartland of the state.

November 7: Internal Landscapes: The Paintings of G.C. Myers

Guest curator Gary C. Myers joins us in a discussion and tour of his contemporary exhibition, InternalLandscapes. Learn first-hand from the artist in this amazing exhibition of paintings that provide moments of stillness and encourage reflection and a renewed sense of purpose.

November 14: Flags, Uniforms, and Insignia: New York State Material Culture of the Civil War
Ted Shuart, printing supervisor at The Farmers’ Museum and re-enactor with the 125th New York State Volunteer Infantry, discusses flags, uniforms and insignia of New York troops during the Civil War. Learn about New York State’s wartime history while looking at objects from the period and understand what they tell us about one of the most tumultuous times in American history.

Pricing Information: Lunch and lecture fee – $20 members/$25 non-members. Register for three or more Food for Thought programs at once and receive a discounted price of $18 members/$23 non-members per program. Call (607) 547-1461 with questions regarding pricing or the cancellation policy.

Americana Symposium: Civil War Era Material Culture


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On September 29, the New York State Historical Association in Cooperstown, New York, will host a second annual Americana Symposium. This year the theme is “Civil War Era Material Culture”; the event will be held at the Fenimore Art Museum from 9am until 5pm.

The symposium brings together leading scholars and experts on American history, art, and culture. After morning speaker sessions and an optional buffet lunch at noon, the 77th New York Regimental Balladeers perform in a special presentation, “Hard Times Come Again No More: America’s Heart Songs”. The balladeers preserve the songs, tunes, history, and spirit of the Antebellum and Civil War period using original musical arrangements and lyrics. 

This year’s presentations include:

  • “Seeing the Civil War: Artists, Photographers, Cartoonists, and Pictorial News and Views,” Joshua Brown, American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning

  • “Photographic Techniques During the American Civil War,” Mark Osterman, George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film

  • “Food in the Civil War,” Andrew F. Smith, food and culinary historian

  • “Emblems of Devotion: New York State’s Civil War Battle Flags, 1861-1862,” Christopher Morton, New York State Military Museum

Symposium attendees also have the opportunity to explore the Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers’ Museum. Cooking demonstrations take place at The Farmers’ Museum, and a reproduction regimental silk flag will be painted at the Fenimore Art Museum. The symposium coincides with the Fenimore Art Museum’s exhibition, On the Home Front: New York in the Civil War, which runs from September 8 through December 31, 2012. The exhibition features Civil War–era artifacts, artwork, photographs and clothing.

The public is invited to explore the exciting world of Americana. Registration is limited and is $65 for NYSHA members and Archive Partnership Trust members, $75 non-members. For a complete schedule or to register online, visit FenimoreArtMuseum.org or call (607) 547-1453.

First Exhibit Devoted Solely to William Matthew Prior


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Artist and Visionary: William Matthew Prior Revealed, the first exhibition devoted solely to this American folk artist, has opened at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York. The exhibition includes over 40 oil paintings spanning his lifelong career from 1824 to 1856 and will be on view through December 31.

“Of the many 19th century folk portrait painters, William Matthew Prior is one of the most accomplished and interesting,” said Fenimore Art Museum President and CEO, Dr. Paul S. D’Ambrosio. “The exhibition, expertly curated by Jacquelyn Oak, explores the blurry line between folk art and academic art in the early 19th century, and the intersection of folk art and the myriad reform and religious movements of the era.”
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Native Artisans at the Fenimore Art Museum


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The Fenimore Art Museum welcomes five Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) artists this summer to spend three days in the museum galleries and outdoors at our Native American interpretive site, Otsego: A Meeting Place. Engaging conversations with these artists offer a delightful, insightful way to learn about traditional Native American art skills that have been handed down for generations.

June 18-20: In addition to traditional pottery, Natasha Smoke Santiago, a self-taught artist, casts the bellies of pregnant women and then forms the casts into sculptural objects incorporating Haudenosaunee craft techniques. She will be creating pottery on site and sharing its relationship to Haudenosaunee tradition and stories.

July 17-19: Penelope S. Minner is a fourth-generation traditional artist making black ash splint baskets and cornhusk dolls. Working in the customary Seneca way, Penny uses no forms for basket shapes and sizes.

August 5-7: Karen Ann Hoffman creates beautiful decorative pieces following the traditions of Iroquois raised beadwork and embodying Iroquoisworldviews.

August 21-23: Ken Maracle creates beads from quahog shells and has been making reproduction wampum belts for more than 25 years. He also makes condolence canes, horn rattles, water drums, and traditional headdresses. He speaks the Cayuga language and is knowledgable about the history of wampum and his people.

August 30-September 1: Iroquois sculptor Vincent Bomberry carves images of Iroquois life in stone.

Artisans will be in the museum galleries and at Otsego: AMeeting Place from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. During the Artisan Series, visitors can explore the extraordinary Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection of American Indian Art, a collection of over 800 objects representative of a broad geographic range of North American Indian cultures. Tours of Otsego: A Meeting Place and its Seneca Log House and Mohawk Bark House are also available.

Admission: adults and juniors (13-64) is $12.00; seniors (65+): $10.50; and free for children (12 and under). Admission is always free for NYSHA members, active military, and retired career military personnel. Members enjoy free admission all year.

For more information, visit FenimoreArtMuseum.org.